Novo's diabetes drug shown to decrease heart risks, boosting competitive edge
- Novo Nordisk's diabetes drug Victoza cut the risk of cardivovascular events by 13%, becoming only the second treatment for the metabolic condition to show a heart benefit after Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim's Jardiance.
- Victoza, an injectable GLP-1 receptor agonist, also reduced deaths from heart disease by 22% compared to a placebo, the Danish drugmaker said on Monday. The study's results should help boost sales of Victoza, which pulled in roughly $2.7 billion in revenue last year.
- Despite the results, Novo's stock slipped by around 5% in early trading Tuesday. Investors may have been hoping for a better results, as Reuters notes.
Ever since Eli Lilly and Boehringer reported that their SGLT-2 inhibitor Jardiance decreased the risk of CV events in patients with type 2 diabetes, other companies have been working to catch up. Jardiance's prior study results showed a 14% decline in overall cardiovascular (CV) risk, as well as a 38% reduction in cardiovascular deaths.
Others are hot on the heels of Lilly, Boehringer, and Novo. Merck and Pfizer, for example, announced this past weekend an expansion in the number of patients they plan to enroll in a trial studying the effect of their experimental drug ertugliflozin on CV outcomes.
Novo's trial studied Victoza in 9,340 patients with Type 2 diabetes who were at high risk of CV events. The 13% outcome is based on a composite endpoint that includes CV-related death, in addition to non-fatal myocardial infarction, and stroke.
As a GLP-1 receptor agonist, Victoza is in a different class of drugs than Jardiance, which is a SGLT-2 inhibitor.
Novo hopes these results will position Victoza as a treatment which can help improve mortality rates as well as control diabetes symptoms. "For us, this marks the beginning of a new era where our R&D focus will go beyond glucose control," said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, chief science officer at Novo.
The most common adverse effects leading to discontinuation of Victoza were gastrointestinal events, while the overall safety profile of the drug was comparable to placebo.
While undeniably positive news for Novo, investors may have been looking for a larger benefit from the drug. Reuters also noted concern that the drug did not seem to reduce risk as much in American patients.